Charleston Open: Jabeur advances to final with win over Kasatkina

World No.5 Ons Jabeur advanced to her second consecutive Charleston Open final after overcoming a lengthy rain delay to oust No.8 Daria Kasatkina 7-5, 7-5 in the semifinal, here.

A runner-up in 2022, the Tunisian will face either top seed Jessica Pegula or defending champion Belinda Bencic for the title.

The semifinal between Pegula and Bencic was suspended for rain with the Swiss leading 7-5, 6-6 but the American up 4-2 in the tiebreak. The match will resume at 1330 hrs (local time) on Sunday, with the final to follow after suitable rest.

In a rain-addled match that saw a lengthy interruption due to the weather, Jabeur rallied from a double-break down in the first set and a break down in the second set to seal her first Top 10 win of the season.

Jabeur has now won the last five meetings against Kasatkina, extending her lead in their head-to-head to 5-2.

With her victory on Saturday night, Jabeur tied World No.1 Iga Swiatek's mark for the most wins on clay since the start of the 2020 season, with each tallying 37 over that span.

After being sidelined in February due to surgery, Charleston will be the World No.5's first final of the season. She is bidding to win her first title since last summer on the grass courts of Berlin.

"I have to thank the rain. It allowed me to talk to my coach a bit and he gave me some advice and reflected on what happened in the first set. My game was there, I just needed to find something small. I was more patient definitely after, I was building my point more and that really helped me," Jabeur said on court.

Jabeur holds a 4-2 lead in the head-to-head against Pegula, having won their last four meetings. Their last match came at the 2022 WTA Finals in Fort Worth, with Jabeur winning 1-6, 6-3, 6-3. Their most significant meeting came on the clay last spring in the Madrid final. Jabeur prevailed 7-5, 0-6, 6-2 to win the biggest title of her career.

A rematch against Bencic offers a different match-up story for Jabeur. The two have split their four prior meetings. Last year in Charleston, Bencic held off Jabeur in a dramatic final, winning 6-1, 5-7, 6-4 to win her first clay-court title.